Cover photo for Salvatore Joseph Enna, Ph.D.'s Obituary
Salvatore Joseph Enna, Ph.D. Profile Photo
1944 Salvatore 2023

Salvatore Joseph Enna, Ph.D.

December 19, 1944 — June 15, 2023

Mission Hills

Salvatore Joseph Enna, Ph.D. died peacefully in his sleep at his Mission Hills home on June 15, 2023. Sam was born in Kansas City, Missouri on December 19, 1944 to Faye and Veto Enna, the second of five children.  As an eight year old, Sam began throwing papers with his father for the Kansas City Star’s newspaper routes.  As a young adult Sam held multiple odd jobs, among them Elephant Train driver at the Kansas City Zoo, and a member of the night time clean up crew at Leawood Country Club.

Sam attended Catholic grade schools, Rockhurst High School, and Rockhurst College. Sam was known for his quick wit, and put it to good use when he studied for his Masters and PhD degrees in Pharmacology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. While still a student, he met Colleen Nestor on a blind date on July 4,1965 at the Starlight Theatre. They married at Visitation Church on July 26, l969.

Sam’s career in pharmacology began with postdoctoral studies at the University of Texas in Dallas, in 1970.  With their infant daughter Anne Elizabeth, born in 1972, the family headed to Basle, Switzerland for Sam’s studies at Hoffman La Roche Drug Company. 

At a meeting in Strasbourg, France, Sam met Doctor Solomon Snyder and was invited to join his research team at Johns Hopkins University in 1974.  Not long after arriving in Baltimore, Matthew Joseph joined our family.

After completing his postdoctoral studies, Sam accepted an appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of Texas, Houston in 1976. In Houston, Sam and Colleen welcomed their third child, Katharine in 1983.  While at UT Houston, Sam won countless teaching awards, and rose to the position of Full Professor.

Our family moved to Baltimore in 1986, at the invitation of Doctor Solomon Snyder, his Johns Hopkins mentor, who asked Sam to lead the research team at Nova Pharmaceutical. 

In 1993, the family returned to Kansas City.  Sam became the Chairman of Pharmacology at the University of Kansas.  After nearly thirty years on the faculty, Sam accepted Emeritus status. 

Sam continued his work with Elsevier Publishing Company, editing several journals up to the day of his passing. A special thank you to Lynn Lecount and Jennifer McNichols who worked tirelessly with Sam for years on the Elsevier journals.  

Sam was spirited and generous, a bigger than life personality. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend.  He is survived by his wife Colleen, his three children Anne (Tim Hedrick ) , Matthew, and Katie (Adam Hobson ) and two very special grandchildren Sloan and Madeleine Hobson.  Sam’s parents, and his brother Frank predeceased him.  He is survived by three siblings, John, Nina, and Stephanie. 

For all of his accomplishments, Sam said on numerous occasions that his greatest achievement was his wife and three children.  Thanks to Sam’s success as a scientist, Colleen and Sam met and dined with scientists around the globe. Sam always stressed to his children the importance of a good education.  His children listened.  And, they watched this voracious reader consume classic literature as well as science.

The evening before he passed, Sam placed a book that he had edited on the kitchen island. The book is: Bioactive Lipid Mediators in Cardiopulmonary Pharmacology.  A pharmacologist to the end.  

It has been decided that the upcoming International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology meeting in Glasgow, Scotland will be honoring Sam’s leadership legacy.

A memorial service will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 on Friday, June 23, at Muehlebach Funeral Home at 6800 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Friday, June 23, 2023

2:00 - 4:00 pm (Central time)

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Graveside Service

Friday, June 23, 2023

4:30 - 4:45 pm (Central time)

Mt Olivet Catholic Cemetery

7601 Blue Ridge Blvd, Raytown, MO 64138

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